Nellis Red Flag 13-2
Nellis Red Flag is held at the Nevada Test and Training Range and incorporates a wide
variety of aircraft. Interdiction, air superiority, attack, defense, refueling, reconnaissance are
all part of the exercise, along with participation of foreign aircraft. This exercise included
aircraft from Sweden, Singapore, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.
To watch both the launch and recovery of all the aircraft, one focuses on the obvious, the
jet rolling down the runway and flight away from the Nellis airbase and subsequent return
hours later. But when you have time to think about what actually took place in front of you,
you start to realize all of the hard work it took to get those aircraft past you. The hours before
the launch, the pilots and crew going through briefings, the people that plan the day exercise.
The coordination of fueling, arming, servicing and maintaining aircraft. It’s the people in the tower
coordinating the aircraft on the ground, listening to the professionalism in the voice of the controllers
and aircraft crews. One begins to get a clearer picture of what Red Flag is all about. Working
together to get the job done. It doesn’t matter if your the Red team or the Blue team, at
the end of the day, it was to work together, to get the training, so that you had the experience
to take into battle one day.
There is talk of the budget cuts looming on the horizon. It is expected to affect all branches
of the military and also Red Flag exercises. I have been fortunate to witness a day of launches
and recovery and can see how curbing these exercises affect the readiness of the services.
I don’t think simulating an exercise prepares anyone as well as having to actually do the
exercise. The planners, the fuelers, the maintenance crew, tower personnel , security forces,
flight crews,everyone affected gain thru experience, there is no substitute.
This is my personal observation and opinion.